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How far Pakistan has succeeded to counter India through second strike capability?

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South Asia has long remained a nuclear flash point. China, India and Pakistan, all three armed nuclear states, craft a triangular dilemma. Nevertheless, the modernization and growth of Chinese strategic and dissuasive powers is thoroughly intended to combat the predominance of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region. India’s strategic and deterrence development of its forces is focused on both China and Pakistan. Pakistan then reacts to India, accordingly. As India perceives that it is largely confronted by two rivals, China at its north and Pakistan at its west. The development of strategic and deterrent Indian forces and their deployed defenses in South Asia might create imperative strategic worries. The effectiveness of Pakistan’s second strike capability to deter India could not be entirely explained by one single factor. In pursuit of the strategic equilibrium not parity between the two adversaries, Pakistan has effectively taken counter-measures to deter its nuclear-armed rival state India in the face of full spectrum deterrence, which is part of a credible minimum deterrence in itself, that is, to bridge gaps and take necessary action where necessary. Nevertheless, such measures may not serve the purpose in the long term, as India is rapidly developing and modernizing its conventional and strategic dissuasive forces with the cooperation of global powers that provide India with a comparative advantage by acquiring cutting-edge technology. India’s commitments undermine the credibility of Pakistan’s strategic forces enormously, thus compelling Pakistan to take necessary counter-measures to prevent any erosions in the stability of deterrence.

Concept of Deterrence

Deterrence theory acquired its eminence in the Cold War period as to the use of both the Soviet Union and the United States nuclear weapons. Considering the nuclear weapons’ intense destructive force, it had a specific connotation that even an inferior nuclear power could discourage the superior one by possessing small numbers of nuclear weapons. Deterrence theory acquired its eminence in the Cold War period as to the use of both the Soviet Union and the United States nuclear weapons. Considering the nuclear weapons’ intense destructive force, it had a specific connotation that even an inferior nuclear power could discourage the superior one by possessing limited numbers of nuclear weapons. However, their credibility was also crucially important. A credible nuclear deterrent must be maintained and prepared at all times, but never used yet. Deterrence could be defined in its broader terms as a strategy intended to dissuade an adversary and rigorously prevent it from taking an inacceptable action that would have unacceptable consequences. In certain words, to intimidate an opponent by the threat of using force to deter or suppress its other actions, be they offensive or defensive, else inacceptable harm would be inflicted.

Pakistan’s Second Strike Capability: A crucial measure for strategic and Deterrence stability in South Asia

The stability of South Asia’s deterrence has always been destabilized and greatly impacted by India’s ambiguous policies and doctrines, be it a conventional doctrine of war such as the Cold Start Doctrine (CSD) and/or No-First-Use (NFU) nuclear weapons policies or Massive Retaliation against any counter-force strike.India has been pursuing its active nuclear and ballistic missile programs along with its defensive measure, namely the two tiered defense shield, Prithvi Air Defense (PAD) capable of defying high-altitude threats and Advanced Air Defense (AAD) capable of refuting low-altitude threats. It is also renewing and expanding its conventional capabilities. Both of these assertive steps have in turn threatened the South Asian region’s strategic stability and balance. For the survival of a nuclear-armed state vis-à – vis a larger adversary, a responsible nuclear-weapon state like Pakistan may have no choice but to acquire a credible second strike capability to combat and effectively deter an aggressive adversary in order to maintain the stability of deterrence in the South Asian region. That being said, it would rely substantially more on its nuclear deterrence forces than on its counterpart. Keeping in mind the realistic minimum strategy of deterrence, Pakistan effectively deterred India without being economically pulled into a vicious cycle of arms race in fear of exhaustion. Deterrence by full spectrum does not necessarily apply to the greater numbers, but rather to fill the deterrence gaps created by the development of India’s conventional and nuclear powers, as Pakistan states. Deterrence by full spectrum does not necessarily apply to the greater numbers, but rather to fill the deterrence gaps created by the development of India’s conventional and nuclear powers, as Pakistan states. Pakistan’s development of marine nuclear power was inevitable, especially with regard to Indian Naval nuclear capability and BMD systems in general. Pakistan ‘s final nuclear triad leg was completed on January 9, 2017 after conducting its first ever successful test of a 450 km long Submarine Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM), named Babur-3. Babur-3 SLCM is a modified and sea-based variant of the Babur-2 Ground Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM) which was successfully tested in December 2016.Pakistan’s Babur-3 incorporates state-of-the-art technologies that provide state-of-the-art navigation and guidance features, appropriately supported by Global Navigation, Sight and Terrain Matching Systems. It is also assimilated with firm stealth, sea skimming and terrain hugging capabilities and can be loaded with different types of payloads to deliver accurately at allocated location. This particular Babur-3 test snapped a vital gap. This was a critical step to ensure a credible second strike capability and to restore the strategic balance in the region drastically disturbed by the Indian test of a nuclear capable K-4 Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) ranging from 3000 to 3500 km from its nuclear powered Arihant Class I submarine in March, 2016. Despite this, India’s second strike capability had already been assured with a range of 750 km through its K-15 Sagarika SLBM.

The Indian pursuit for BMD system and its strategic implications

As a shield and a sword, the Indian BMD system has a vibrant rationale: a shield to defend against future attacks, and a sword to strike back. Considering the prestige of nuclear deterrence in South Asia, it has enormous strategic implications for regional stability, forcing Pakistan to an extreme edge to develop and establish effective countermeasures for the overall deployed defenses. The Indian BMD shield would have many strategic implications both for China and for Pakistan. In the short and long term perspectives of India’s ambitious BMD system, China may be concerned. One of India’s BMD shield’s vital objectives is generally to blunt Pakistan’s declared nuclear first-use option. This in turn would hustle up a new arms race between the region’s two rival nuclear states. India’s deployed BMD system significantly reinforces Pakistan’s credibility in terms of nuclear deterrence.

MIRVing (Ababeel)

The Multiple Independently Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs) could effectively undermine the credibility of India’s deployed security shields. Indeed, the U.S. developed the MIRV technology to combat ballistic missile defense shields deployed by the Soviet Union (Russia) during the Cold War period. No matter how sophisticated the deployed defenses of the adversary are, increased warheads on a MIRV could effectively improve the missile’s credibility in defeating those deployed shields. MIRVing may be one of the powerful measures against a missile shield in South Asia, be it the high altitude or low altitude. In addition to the capability of both land-based and sea-based cruise missiles, Pakistan has also developed a ballistic missile called Ababeel with a range of 2200 km that was named MIRV to defeat the Indian BMD system. Nonetheless, Pakistan may have other choices for turning its ballistic missiles into MIRV technology, with the leading candidates Shaheen-II and Shaheen-III considering the aptitude of payloads. In addition to MIRVing, Pakistan may build a lot more sophisticated systems for defeating the opponent’s deployed defenses such as decoys, chaff, jamming, thermal shielding, and warheads with very low infrared signature intensity. Such technical systems may directly or indirectly attack the sensor systems of adversary’s defenses. For example, China could interfere with U.S. radars and infrared sensors in the worst case scenario after launching an outer space nuclear weapon.

Conclusion

Pakistan has always exercised a proactive strategic restraint in terms of the South Asian region’s strategic stability, without compromising national security. Instead, Indian aggressive policies and actions with wider regional and global military objectives have repeatedly affected the strategic stability. Nonetheless, increasing conventional and nuclear offensives in India will have a negative impact, and will continue to threaten the region’s balance and strategic deterrence. Keeping in mind that Pakistan must also establish other means for its defense and survival to ensure that the minimum measures are effective without falling into a parity of weapons (i.e. weapon to weapon).Some Pakistani scholars and analysts believe that Pakistan is not yet fully assured of its vulnerability i.e. the acquisition of second strike capability. Pakistani submarines are powered by diesel-electric propulsion engines which make them noisy and detectable and they are also not deep shallow sea submarines with small submerging displacement (2.083 tons).While these submarines are not nuclear powered yet they could easily be found and preempted by the advanced technology of the opponent and it is still in the early stages to be fully developed and mature nevertheless. Despite the assured second strike capability, Pakistan needs to develop nuclear powered submarines with long-range SLCMs mounted on them. The SLCM’s increased ranges above from 450 km will provide an extra layer of protection, which in effect would provide an advantage to be protected from any risk to be pre-empted in enemy water. Such long-range SLCMs could be converted into MIRVs in the same way as their ground variants i.e. for the enhancement and credibility of assured second strike capability like Ababeel. Pakistan has always tried to resolve all the major embedded issues and has rationally opted for conflict avoidance because its traditional and nuclear doctrines are defensive in nature. A balanced and firm deterrence relationship between the two antagonists is completely imperative for a long lasting peace and stability of South Asia.

Fatima Arif pursuing bachelors of Strategic and nuclear studies from National Defence University, Islamabad.

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Defense

The US military is operating in more countries than we think

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“Irregular warfare” is defined by Pentagon as “competition… short of traditional armed conflict” or “all-out war.” A new report finds that Pentagon uses ‘security cooperation’ programs for ‘secret wars,’ recommends that Congress rein them in.

U.S. military forces have been engaged in unauthorized hostilities in many more countries than the Pentagon has disclosed to Congress, let alone the public, according to a major new report released by New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice.

“Afghanistan, Iraq, maybe Libya. If you asked the average American where the United States has been at war in the past two decades, you would likely get this short list,” according to the report, Secret War: How the U.S. Uses Partnerships and Proxy Forces to Wage War Under the Radar.

“But this list is wrong – ‘off’ by at least 17 countries in which the United States has engaged in armed conflict through ground forces, proxy forces, or air strikes.”

“This proliferation of secret war is a relatively recent phenomenon, and it is undemocratic and dangerous,” the report’s author, Katherine Yon Ebright, wrote in the introduction. “The conduct of undisclosed hostilities in unreported countries contravenes our constitutional design. It invites military escalation that is unforeseeable to the public, to Congress, and even to the diplomats charged with managing U.S. foreign relations.”

One such program authorized the Defense Department to “provide support to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups or individuals engaged in supporting or facilitating authorized ongoing military operations by United States special operations forces to combat terrorism.”

According to the report, that “support” has been broadly — or, more accurately, too broadly — interpreted by the Pentagon. In practice, it has enabled the U.S. military to “develop and control proxy forces that fight on behalf of and sometimes alongside U.S. forces” and to use armed force to defend its local partners against adversaries (in what the Pentagon calls “collective self-defense”) regardless of whether those adversaries pose any threat to U.S. territory or persons.

“I’ve got guys in Kenya, Chad, Cameroon, Niger [and] Tunisia who are doing the same kind of things as the guys in Somalia, exposing themselves to the same kind of danger,” bragged Brigadier Gen. Donald Bolduc (ret.), who commanded U.S. special forces in Africa until 2017 and is currently running as a Republican for the U.S. Senate in New Hampshire. “We’ve had guys wounded in all the types of missions that we do.”

The report, which relies on published work by investigative reporters, interviews with knowledgeable officials and congressional staff, official documents and records, as well as the author’s legal analysis, identifies such countries as: Somalia, Cameroon, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Niger, Nigeria, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen.

But it stressed that the list is almost certainly not exhaustive.

Fifty countries, from Mexico to Peru in the west to Indonesia and the Philippines (where U.S. forces are known to have taken part in combat operation) in the east, and covering 22 countries in North and sub-Saharan Africa alone (not to mention Ukraine) had programs in place as of mid-2018, according to the report.

“Broadly speaking, the purpose of the authority is to take the Pentagon’s approach of creating and controlling partner forces and wield it against countries like China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea,” – according to the report.

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Gung-ho statements by India’s jingoist military and civil leaders

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Cross fire between Indian and Pakistan forces was a recurrent phenomenon. It usually hurt the unarmed civilians rather than the troops. Realising futility of intermittent exchange of fire across the border, India and Pakistan, always at daggers drawn, agreed to ceasefire that is still being upheld. However, an agreement on no-firearms use between the two countries, akin to Sino-Indian agreement, is nowhere in the offing. Despite the accord, India and China still engaged in fisticuffs at Galwan.

As if in deliriums tremens, India’s Northern Army Commander Lt General Upendra Dwivedi shouted, “As far as the Indian Army is concerned, it will carry out any order given by the Government of India [to annex Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan “(Whenever such orders are given, we will always be ready for it, The News International, November 22, 2022).

His statement is a sycophantic follow-up to a similar statement by India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh “of taking back PoK”. Besides Rajnath many other Indian leaders including Bipen Rawat, Ajit Doval and Narendra Modi have made provocative statements about AK and GB. Pakistan’s army chief has replied to Dwivedi’s statement in befitting words. In 1994, India’s lok Sabha (house of people) passed aresolution under the then prime minister Narasimha Rao. The resolution stated that AJK and GB are an integral part of India by virtue of Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India.

India’s claim to accession of the Jammu and Kashmir is unfounded. India never showed the so-called Instrument of accession to the United Nations. The UNO passed two resolutions to outlaw probable accession by the puppet JK assembly to India. The UN resolutions recognise that the dispute could be resolved only through a plebiscite. Till about 1954, India continued to owe allegiance to the UN resolutions. Then in a volte face, Nehru declared that the UN resolutions are mediatory, not mandatory in nature. India’s unilateral renunciation of the UN resolutions eminently qualified it as a rogue state subject to international sanctions.

India treacherously annexed over 500 other princely state by hook or by crook. For instance, Junagadh annexation is still an unresolved item on UN agenda.

Dwivedi means ‘one who knows two vedas’. In Sanskrit, Dvi means ‘two’ and Vedi means ‘to see’. Therefore, a Dwivedi is one with ‘two-fold vision’, or someone who is able to distinguish between right and wrong. The general’s statement reflects that he has purblind vision, not seeing consequences of a war between two nuclear armed neighbours. Victory in case of a nuclear confrontation will, at best, be pyrrhic.

Dwivedi appears to have been infatuated by provision of K9-Vajra self-propelled howitzer (50 mile range) is being manufactured by Larsen and Toubro in Gujarat. China has already provided Pakistan similar howitzers to neutralize India’s fire power (China supplies mounted howitzers to Pak to maintain arms parity with India, Hindustan Times Jan 27, 2022).

Dwivedi appears to be oblivious of facts about Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.

Gilgit Baltistan

On November 1, 1947, the governor of Gilgit, Brig Ghansara Singh surrendered to the Gilgit Scouts and signed an instrument of surrender on November 3, 1947. The people of the region proclaimed Gilgit as part of Pakistan and hoisted Pakistan’s flag. Skardu was liberated after about a year on August 14, 1948, when Lt Col Thapa of 6th Jammu and Kashmir infantry along with 250 soldiers surrendered to liberation forces.

Historian Yousaf Saraf if of the view that Gilgit –Baltistan is a part of Azad Kashmir as is evident from Accord signed between AK and Pakistan government. Sartaj Aziz committee recommended to the federal government to make Gilgit-Baltistan a full-fledged province with representation in both the houses of parliament.

A psycho-analytic view” Indian leaders “frogs”

Indian civil military leaders suffer from a fight-and-flight complex. The human beings, particularly the macho typos, like Indian military leaders, think they are independent decision makers. But, subconsciously they are slaves to the subconscious to the scripts they have learned to live with. In his book, Scripts People Live, Claude Steiner analyses “life scripts” which we choose at an early age and which rule every detail of our lives until our death. Steiner postulates that people are innately healthy but develop a pattern early in life based upon negative or positive influences of those around them. Thus children decide, however unconsciously, whether they will be happy or depressed, winners or failures, STRONG or dependent, and having decided, they spend the rest of their lives making the decision come true. For those who choose a negative script, the consequences can be disastrous unless they make a conscious decision to change.

The tragedy is that the person who needs to rewrite his or her life script most is unwilling to admit that he needs to revamp his life script.

Narendra Modi is such a person who by his conduct and political statements reflects that he suffers from a negative life script. He wants to pose as a “prince”, though he is actually a “frog”. Modi’s recent statements provide a clue how he is neurologically programmed.

Concluding reflections

Modi is convinced that his electoral achievements are due to his Macho (strongman) image. Lest his image should be shattered he delayed withdrawing anti-farmer laws for about a year since the farmers began protesting. He trumpets his “surgical strikes”, celebrates “Kargil victory”, and anti-Muslim citizenship laws.

Modi is still fettered to his teen-age memory of being a waiter at a tea-stall. The Modi government should turn a new leaf in India’s relations with its neighbours by shunning the strong-man image. He could do better by attending to the economic welfare of the masses and promoting social harmony.

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Defense

Ukraine recruits fighters from Africa

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“If Ukraine decides to pay me a very good amount of money, which I know I cannot earn here, I will definitely go there and fight,” Kimanzi Nashon, a student in the Kenyan capital Nairobi said. “When we go there, and then the war ends before anything happens, I will come back to Kenya and be a millionaire.”

And Nashon isn’t alone in harboring such naive thoughts of being a hired fighter in Ukraine.

“If an opportunity presented itself for me to fight in Ukraine as a mercenary, I would be on my heels running there,” Beatrice Kaluki, who is unemployed in Kenya, told ‘Deutsche Welle’. “I would rather die on the front line in Ukraine knowing that my family would be compensated even after my death, rather than die from depression because of the insane unemployment rate!”

However, African countries have come out strongly to condemn Ukraine’s call for African fighters to join the “international legion” against the Russians.

Now Nigeria, Senegal and Algeria have criticized Ukraine’s efforts to enlist international fighters as it resists a Russians. Analysts say those who have responded to the call need to reconsider.

According to Ryan Cummings, director of ‘Signal Risk’, a South African-based security risk management consultancy, ‘President Zelenskyy might be capitalizing on Africa’s challenging socio-economic conditions to lure African fighters to Ukraine.’ According to the Nigerian daily, ‘The Guardian’, more than 100 young men registered their interest in fighting for Ukraine at the country’s embassy in Abuja.

A spokesperson for Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister, Francisca Omayuli, said Nigeria would not allow its nationals to volunteer as mercenaries.

Senegal has also expressed its displeasure with Ukraine’s government, saying that at least 36 people in Senegal were ready to confront Russian forces. Senegal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it was astonished to learn that the embassy of Ukraine in Dakar had posted an appeal on its Facebook page for foreign citizens to come to Ukraine’s military forces.

In a statement, the Senegalese government criticized the initiative and warned its citizens that recruiting volunteers, mercenaries, or foreign fighters on Senegalese soil is illegal.

“These young people who want to get involved [in Ukraine] have not fully considered political or religious implications,” said Serigne Bamba Gaye, a researcher on peace, security and governance at the US-based Peace Operations Training Institute (POTI).

“They are only interested in answering a call without perhaps understanding the issues surrounding the Ukrainian conflict,” Gaye said.

For security and risk analyst Ryan Cummings, African countries need to consider the implications of allowing their citizens to travel to Ukraine as hired guns. “Russia has stated any country that is actively assisting Ukraine in this war, or as Russia calls it: ‘A special military operation to demilitarize and de-nazify Ukraine,’ will be considered at war with Russia,” he said.

He warned that the Kremlin could also retaliate by ending diplomatic relations with African countries that support Ukraine in this way.

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